Warm weather is here, so consider taking your family out for a spin on a tour designed just for little ones. Bobby's Bike Hikes in Chicago has put its own spin on bicycling, with the recent addition of "Tike Hikes" for the 10 and under set.
During these rides, kids search for a key in "secret" gardens, pet animals at Lincoln Park Zoo, rub the foot of a giant Abe Lincoln, toss coins in a wishing well and bike the lakefront trail. There's also Chicago history, trivia and prizes.
"We had interest right from the beginning," says Kelly Brennan, a tike hike tour guide. "Parents like this tour a little better because there's no street riding."
The two-hour Tike Hike is designed for 5- to 10-year-olds, but toddlers, infants and teens have ridden along. All equipment is provided, including tag-a-longs, carriages and child seats. Plus, the tour guides are trained to have the kids at the front with them.
"We call them co-pilots and make them feel important," says Brennan. "Mom and Dad form a line behind as a wall against traffic."
Brennan recommends bringing a camera, snacks such as trail mix or granola bars, sunglasses and sunscreen. Layers are important, depending on the time of year, since the lakefront has chillier temperatures. Take enough bottled water for everyone but not too many-there are pit stops along the way.
Bobby's Bikes also offers other tours, such as Lakefront Neighborhoods and Bike Obama, which are also family friendly.
Elizabeth Espindola is a Chicago Parent intern.